Inclusionary Playground to Be Built this Spring in Lawrence

    Photo courtesy of Lawrence Township website

    On June 1, 1813, Captain James Lawrence, commander of the USS Chesapeake, spoke the now famous words, “Don’t give up the ship,” as he lay mortally wounded on his disabled ship. Though he died three days later, Captain Lawrence inspired no less than 17 municipalities across the U.S. to name their towns after him. As for Lawrence Township, on January 24, 1816, the New Jersey Legislature changed the name from Maidenhead to Lawrence. 

    Captain Lawrence’s famous words of perseverance will feature prominently on a sign welcoming families and the community to play together, when an inclusionary playground is built in Central Park this spring. The playground designed by Richard Krawczun, Municipal Manager, Nancy Bergen, Superintendent of Recreation, Jim Parvesse, Municipal Engineer, and Greg Whitehead, Director of Public Works will include ship-like play structures within younger and older play areas, connections to existing park pathways, and accessibility for walkers and wheelchairs.

    “The idea behind the playground is to provide opportunities where children with and without disabilities can play together,” said Mr. Krawczun.

    Notice of the $133,250 awarded contract for site work to Whirl Construction, in Port Monmouth, was announced at Tuesday’s town council meeting. The amount includes the playground’s soil excavation, concrete curb construction, mobilization, aggregate base, asphalt path installation, soil grading, topsoil, fertilization, and seeding, playground equipment installation, and poured in place surface installation.

    Funding for the site work will be provided by a previously approved capital appropriation of $100,000 and by the Open Space Trust Fund. The cost of the playground equipment is unknown at this time as the state is yet to award the vendor contract. Partial funding will be applied for through a Mercer at Play grant.

    The start date of construction this Spring will be dependent upon the weather cooperating but should be finished between 4-6 weeks.

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    Angela Jacobs
    Angela Jacobs is a freelance writer who lives in Hopewell Township with her teenaged children and partner of 20 years. Despite her best efforts to simplify her life, last year she added four chickens and a second rescue dog to her pet menagerie. Unfortunately, an interim of peaceful coexistence ended with the untimely demise of two of the chickens at the paws of Jax, the new dog. An egregious lack of impulse control has since been diagnosed resulting in an indefinite separation of Jax from all present and future chickens, her two cockatiels, open garbage cans, snacks open on tables, abandoned stuffed animals, etc. She does however gently encourage him toward a certain industrious squirrel that has spelunked its way through her backyard in search of the most perfect hiding spot for its nuts.


    1. ‘connections to existing park pathways, and accessibility for walkers
      and wheelchairs’

      Where I live, the whole park is not accessible, nor are the sidewalks.
      I welcome the idea of an inclusive park and playground.


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